Religion 371 W: Research and Writing in Religious Studies

Samford University, Department of Religion, Fall 2003

Mon., Wed., 2:15 to 4:05pm, 322 Chapman Hall

course website:

David R. Bains, Assistant Professor
325 Chapman Hall, phone: 726-2879, email:
Office Hours: Mon. 4:05-5:00pm, Tues. & Thurs. 2-4pm. If you cannot meet during these times, please let me know and we can set up an alternative.

Course Description:

Students develop analytical, research, and writing skills in religious studies In a small-seminar format, students will engage in reading and analysis of both primary and secondary materials. They will also engage in a directed research paper. The focus of the course in fall 2003 will be religion in the United States during the Cold War era (1945-1989).

Goals: Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

Required Texts:

Booth, Wayne C., Joseph W. Williams, and Gregory C. Colomb. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Hacker, Diane. A Writer's Reference. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford Books, 1999.

Marsh, Charles. God's Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Massa, Mark S. Catholics and American Culture: Fulton Sheen, Dorothy Day, and the Notre Dame Football Team. New York: Crossroad, 1999.

Wuthnow, Robert. The Restructuring of American Religion: Society and Faith Since World War II. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988.

Reading Packet

Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to observe high standards of intellectual integrity. See the relevant section of the Student Handbook and the University Catalog. Study groups are encouraged, but all work submitted in this class must be your own. Suspected lapses in academic integrity will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the University's values policy.

For information on the format of papers and citations see my handout "Guidelines for Essays in Religion."

Attendance and Grading / Department of Religion:

Roll will be taken each day. In a MWF class a student may miss six classes without penalty. After the seventh absence your final grade will be reduced one letter grade. After the ninth absence the student will receive an FA for the course. Three tardies count as one absence. If you come in after your name is called, you will need to notify your professor at the end of the class period, or else the tardy will become an absence. The Department of Religion grading scale is:

A= 100%-95%, A- = 94%-92%

B+ = 91%-88%, B = 87% - 85%, B- = 84%-82%

C+ = 81% - 78%, C = 77%-74%, C- = 73% - 70%

D+ = 69% - 66%, D = 65% - 63%, D- = 62% -60%

F = below 59%

Papers that are turned in after the set due date will be penalized one full letter grade for each week that they are late during the first half of term. No credit will be given to late assignments leading up to the final paper (those from Oct. 20 on).

Samford University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must make their request by contacting Disability Support Services located in Counseling Services on the lower level

of Pittman Hall, or call 726-4078. A faculty member will grant reasonable accommodations only upon written notification from Disability Support Services.

Course Requirements:

"Scholar Report" (10%)

Students will prepare a 3-page handout and class presentation on a major thinker in the study of religion.

Other Assignments in first half of term (40%)

This includes serving as discussion leader (probably twice), short essays, bibliography, and other exercises. It also includes your overall participation in discussions. See the course outline below.

Research project (various stages) (50%)

Students will complete a closely-supervised research project on a topic of they choose in consultation with the instructor. The final paper will be a scholarly paper of 12-15 pages presenting original research. The grade for the research project will be based on the following:

Preliminary topic and Bibliography & Research Problem (5%)

Annotated Bibliography (5%)

Outline (5%)

First Draft (10%)

Complete Draft (10%)

Participation in peer-review of drafts (5%)

Final paper (60%)

Course Outline (Subject to Revision):

  1. August 25: Introduction to Religious Studies
    What is religion? or By majoring in religion, what do you expect to study?
    Why do you study religion?
    How do you study religion? a.) How do you gain information? b.) How do you process this information into knowledge?
  2. August 27: Religion in Cold War America: overview
    Assignment: Surveys of Religion in America exercise (see handout). Craft, pp. 97-108 may prove helpful.
  3. Sept. 1: Approaches to the Study of Religion
    Reading: Terry G. Muck, The Mysterious Beyond: A Basic Guide to Studying Religion (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1993), 19-69, 113-128.
    Primary sources:
    • Prentiss, Craig R. "The Power of Positive Thinking." In Religions of the United States in Practice, edited by Colleen McDannell, 251-267. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001. Includes Norman Vincent Peale, "Try Prayer Power" Chapter 4 of The Power of Positive Thinking. Prentice-Hall, 1952.
    • "We Need a Revival!" and "Judgement" in Revival in Our Time: The Story of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Campaigns, Including Six of His Sermons (Wheaton, Ill.: Van Kampen Press, 1950), 51-62, 125-140 reprinted in Joel A. Carpenter, ed., The Early Billy Graham Sermon and Revival Accounts (New York: Garland, 1988).
    • Thomas Merton, The Seven Story Mountain (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 1948),y 147-158, 316-325, 372-385, 413-423
    • Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1966; reprinted Garden City, N.Y.: Image, 1968),153-158.
    Recommended Reading: Ninian Smart, "Study of Religion" Encyclopedia Britannica [online] and in print.
  4. Sept. 3:
    Reading: Craft of Research, 1-55; Wuthnow, 1-53
    Assignment: Short Essay on Post-War Revival (details to be provided)
  5. Sept. 8: Meet in Library
    Reading: Craft of Research, 56-108
    Assignment: Begin work on Annotated bibliography assignment
  6. Sept. 10: Approaches to Biblical Studies:
    Guest class leaders: Paul Holloway and Joseph Scrivner
    Assignment: Bibliography due [on Friday, Sept. 12]
  7. Sept. 15: Reading: Wuthnow, ch 4-5, pp. 54-99; Massa, introduction, ch 1, pp. 1-37
    Individual Assignments: Scholar report on Reinhold Niebuhr and Theology
    Scholar report on Mary Douglas and cultural anthropology
  8. Sept. 17: Reading: Massa,, ch 2-3, pp. 38-81; Craft, 109-126
    Individual Assignments: Scholar report on Erik Erikson and psychology of religion
    Scholar report on Clifford Geertz and cultural anthropology
    Discussion leader for Massa, chapter 2
    Discussion leader for Massa, chapter 3
    Assignment: Evaluating Massa's arguments
  9. Sept. 22: Paradigms of Christ and Culture
    Reading: Massa,, ch 4-5, pp. 82-127
    Screening: "Life is Worth Living"
    Individual Assignments: Scholar report on H. Richard Niebuhr and sociology of religion and theology
    Scholar report on Victor Turner and ritual studies
    Discussion leader for Massa, chapter 4
    Discussion leader for Massa, chapter 5
  10. Sept. 24: Theology, the University, and Arguments
    Reading: Massa, ch 9, pp. 195-221; Craft, 127-150
    Individual Assignments: Discussion leader for Massa, chapter 9, pp. 195-221
    Assignment: Essay on religious identity and higher education
  11. Sept. 29: Mid-Twentieth Century Religious transformation
    Reading: Wuthnow, ch 6-10, pp. 100-267
    Individual Assignments: Scholar report: critical reception of Restructuring of American Religion
  12. Oct. 1: Sociology of Religion
    Reading: Massa, ch. 6, pp. 128-147
    Penny Long Marler, "Lost in the Fifties: The Changing Family and the Nostalgic Church," in Work, Family, and Religion in Contemporary Society, ed. Nancy Tatom Ammerman and Wade Clark Roof (New York: Routledge, 1995), 23-60.
    Craft, chapter 15, 241-262
    Individual Assignments: Scholar report on Peter Berger and sociology of religion
    Discussion leader for Massa, chapter 6
    Discussion Leader for Marler
    Guest Presentation: Penny Long Marler
  13. Oct. 6: Catholicism and the 1960s
    Reading: Massa, ch. 7-8, pp. 148-194; Craft, pp. 151-182
    Individual Assignments: Scholar report on Emile Durkheim (sociology of religion) and the study of religion as "practice" or "lived religion" in the United States.
    Scholar report on Max Weber
    Scholar report on critical reception of Massa
    Discussion leader for Massa, chapter 7
    Discussion leader for Massa, chapter 8
    Assignment: Evaluating acknowledgements and responses in Massa
  14. Oct. 8: Reading: Susan Friend Harding, "Preface and Acknowledgements," chapter 3, chapter 6 The Book of Jerry Falwell (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000), ix-xiv, 85-104, 153-182
    Discussion leader for Harding
    Scholar report on critical reception of Harding
    Discussion of possible topics for research
  15. Oct. 15: Visual Culture Studies
    Reading: Morgan, David, "Warner Sallman and the Visual Culture of American Protestantism" and "'Would Jesus Have Sat for a Portrait?' The Likeness of Christ in the Popular Reception of Sallman's Art" in Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman. Ed. idem. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. Pp. 25-60, 181-206.
    Discussion leader for Morgan
    Scholar report on critical reception of Morgan (this work and others)
    Discussion of possible topics for research
    Assignment: Methodology Exercise
  16. Oct. 20
    Reading: Marsh, Introduction and Chapter 1, pp. 3-48
    Assignment: Topic and Preliminary Bibliography Due
    Workshop: Topics to Questions to Problems review Craft 1-74
  17. Oct. 22
    Reading: Marsh, Chapter 2, pp. 49-81
    Workshop: Questions to Problems to Sources, review Craft 75-106
  18. Oct. 27
    Reading: Marsh, Chapter 3, pp. 82-115 & other to be assigned
    Assignment: Research Problem Due
    Workshop: Refining problems, examining your sources
  19. Oct. 29
    Reading: Marsh, Chapter 4, pp. 116-151 & other to be assigned
    Workshop: your sources
  20. Nov. 3
    Reading: Marsh, Chapter 5 and conclusions, pp. 152-194 & other to be assigned
    Assignment: Annotated Bibliography Due
    Scholar report on critical reception of Morgan (this work and others)
    Workshop: your sources
  21. Nov. 5: Workshop: Working toward outlines
    Reading: Craft, 183-207; review Craft 109-182
  22. Nov. 10: Workshop: Working toward drafts
    Assignment: Outline & Partial Drafts Due
  23. Nov. 12 Workshop: Working toward draft
  24. Nov. 17: Workshop: Revising drafts
    Assignment: First Draft Due
  25. Nov. 19: Workshop: Revising drafts
  26. Nov. 24: Workshop: Revising drafts
  27. Dec. 1: Workshop: Revising drafts
    Assignment: Complete Draft Due
  28. Dec. 3: Workshop: Revising drafts

Final Paper due: Wednesday, December 10, 5pm